Hat From the Past

Royal Hats to sometime between 1850 and 1860 when this hat stepped out on the head of Queen Victoria. The caption describes it as “‘Calash’ style with wiring in silk casing. Plain weave silk, trimmed with silk ribbon, and inside with blonde lace and velvet flowers with aerophane leaves.” A ‘calash bonnet’ was a new hat style for me- see a great description here.

Embed from Getty Images

It’s the placement of the flowers that intrigues me most here, tucked deeply inside the bonnet to closely frame the face. What do you notice about this fascinating design?

Images from Getty as indicated

9 thoughts on “Hat From the Past

  1. I find the information in the link about this head covering absolutely facinating and very unique. I wonder why green was the color of choice with the earlier versions.

  2. So this was from the revival period when the style briefly resurfaced early in Victoria’s reign….I wonder if that makes any difference in how it was trimmed. In some of the historical examples, they seemed large enough that if pulled back, any inner decorations might be visible, but this one does not appear to have that much volume.

    That makes MrFitzoy think that perhaps the floral trim is akin a mink lined raincoat, or indulgently trimmed lingerie…..it’s a little secret and private pleasure for the wearer, not meant for the world at large.
    It certainly is an interesting question!

  3. The history of this is fascinating. I realize I have seen these in historical movies but never really had thought about their construction. Definitely avoiding “hat head”.

    And another intriguing rabbit hole with aerophane.

    I wonder if the colour of the silk (green/gray) may be somewhat diminished by time. I can’t remember if this is when chemical dyes had become popular yet, or how well they, or natural dyes, may have persisted.

  4. Today I learned that aerophane is a fine silk gauze!

    The pale grey colour makes me wonder if it was for half-mourning, but the flowers and lace don’t quite fit with that idea. Would Queen Victoria be likely to wear a retrimmed bonnet?

    Personally, I love the idea of a calash but I don’t know how practical it would be in a windy city.

  5. I found the story and reasons for the use of the calash intelligent and practical. Really think the one posted is delicate and sweet. Also the Poke bonnet may be of interest. Thank you for posting data on the calash.

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